Some Wise Things I Forgot I Knew

Recently, a psychic told me to remember what was happening to me when I was 45. He said how I was during that year would help me with my life now. So I looked up an old journal from January to March 1990 and found these forgotten, permission-giving thoughts, which describe the importance of connecting to the inner self:

1. Don’t confuse the uncertainty of creation with a lack of confidence in one’s ability–not the same thing at all. (I was starting to write my novel The Wives of Bath at the time.)

2. Women must learn the self-love, the self-idealizing, the self-mythologizing that has made it possible for men to think of themselves as persons.

3. I seem to go through periods of dutifully submerging myself in feminine roles (as a mother, daughter, wife, girl friend or friend) and then burst out and reclaim freedom and myself.

4. Why do I forget that I am far more interesting when I get back inside my thoughts and feelings and experiences than whatever paradigm of success exists at the time?

5. Today, my friend and yoga teacher Mary Paterson reminded me of something I told her and have since forgotten: don’t write the last sentence. That is, don’t write the end of something (affair/work project) unfolding in your life before it’s over. John Irving may write the last sentence of his novel before he begins but in real 24/7 life, jumping too quickly to a conclusion, particularly about a love relationship, is usually about the fear of being vulnerable and not necessarily the truth of what you need and love.

Mary Paterson is the author of a non-fiction book released this fall, The Monks and Me (How 40 Days at Thich Nhat Hanh’s French Monastery Guided Me Home). Her insightful new book is full of practical wisdom for busy North Americans, and it is published in Canada, the US, the Netherlands. As one of her critics put it, there is nothing better than a Buddhist with a sense of humour.

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